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UMTRI-led short courses bring experts together

August 6, 2014

While summer can be a time for relaxation, it can also be a time for professional development. Over the past month, more than 150 experts from a wide variety of professions took part in short courses coordinated and taught by UMTRI researchers.

Two popular short courses, offered annually by the College of Engineering Integrative Systems + Design, explore human factors engineering and the dynamics of heavy trucks.

Human Factors Engineering Short Course
Professionals from a wide range of disciplines converged at U-M recently for the annual Human Factors Engineering Short Course. Now in its 55th year, this intensive, two-week course attracts engineers, medical professionals, managers, and others interested in designing systems, products, and services to make them easier, safer and more effective to use.

Paul Green, research professor in UMTRI’s Driver Interface Group, helps lead the course. He says that what distinguishes the program is the “tremendous cross-section of people who attend” and the wide variety of application environments they bring to the course—from aircraft cockpits, to nuclear power plants, medical environments, motor vehicles, and military settings, to name just a few.

The course features lectures by experienced instructors from several universities, complemented by small group and hands-on design experience. This year, there were 62 attendees for the first week and 33 for week two. In addition to a strong U.S. presence, there were attendees from Canada, Brazil, Turkey, South Korea, and Switzerland.

Dynamics of Heavy Trucks Short Course
Several UMTRI researchers participated as instructors in the short course Dynamics of Heavy Trucks, held in June at U-M. The course covers critical components of heavy trucks as well as fundamental principles that determine handling and performance.

UMTRI senior research specialist Steve Karamihas is course chair. He says that one of the main goals of the course is to examine how the entire truck performs.

“The way we go about that is first by covering the individual truck components such as tires, and suspensions—and how each one of the components contributes to the overall performance of the vehicle,” said Karamihas. “In the second half of the course, we talk about performance—things like turning, rollover, and ride quality...”

Other UMTRI experts participated as course lecturers, including Dave LeBlanc, head of the UMTRI Engineering Systems Group, senior research engineer Michelle Barnes, senior research scientist emeritus Paul Fancher, research professor emeritus Tom Gillespie, and senior research scientist emeritus Chris Winkler.

Karamihas, Gillespie, and Winkler also presented the short course at the University of Cambridge (UK), July 7-11. They will present the course again at the University of Witwatersrand (South Africa), September 8-11, 2014.

The course was originally developed by faculty in the Engineering Research Division at UMTRI under the leadership of Leonard Segel, its founding director.

Photo courtesy of UMTRI Driver Interface Group.